Study Guide

The Lightning Thief Versions of Reality

By Rick Riordan

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Versions of Reality

The Lightning Thief looks at two co-existing worlds: the mortal world (the world as we know it) and the immortal world (the world of the gods). Our narrator learns that there are different versions of reality in the world, and that "reality" is just the way people choose to interpret a situation. When Zeus's lightning bolt strikes a bus, the mortal world understands it as an explosion due to mechanical failure and nothing more, while the immortal world interprets the bolt as a sign of Zeus's wrath. People choose what they want to see. Our narrator straddles both the immortal and mortal worlds, and he, therefore, learns how to exist in a world of various realities.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Give three examples of how mortals interpret a situation differently from immortals in this story.
  2. Does Percy easily accept the idea that there are different versions of reality in the world?
  3. What can immortal gods see that mortal people can't?
  4. Is having different versions of reality a good thing?
  5. Does anyone try to control the way an event or situation or message is received?
  6. Why doesn't Sally Jackson live with Poseidon? Why does she choose to live her own life in New York City?
  7. In the world that we live in, do you think there are multiple versions of reality? Do people choose to see what they want to see? Have you ever felt like someone's seeing "Mist" instead of reality?

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